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Battle Of The Sexes?

Posted on 4th December 2016

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I am not encouraged by some of the messages and assumptions in this piece on the BBC Magazine (part of a series featuring 100 Women).

The first thing that struck me was that the novel thing for Kathy Murray was the idea that she should treat her husband with respect; that his opinions and preferences were just as valid as hers, and that she should therefore stop trying to control him. Is it really such a novel idea that you treat your partner with respect? If so, no wonder there are so many failed marriages, and so many people struggling on in their relationships while so being unhappy. Why would you even marry someone whom you don't respect?

The other message that felt so wrong to me was that relationships are a battle, and that Kathy Murray fixed her marriage by "surrendering". As far as I am concerned, relationships are based on partnership and support. If you have to continue fighting the same kind of battles at home, as you fight at work and elsewhere in the world, you will be exhausted and on-edge the whole time.

The idea that someone in a relationship is trying to control their partner fits with the American concept of the "fixer-Upper". Women have been known to settle for someone (i.e. to marry them) despite known flaws, with the idea that the man can bed fixed-up through training and control. The more I think about this, the more people I realise that I know whose relationships are built on this shaky foundation.